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The subconscious mind has greater control over your life than you may realize. But when you want to make changes, this secret saboteur may be preventing you from doing just that!
Have you ever tried to lose weight? Or start a New Year’s resolution? Usually, when you make a change, you are full of motivation and eager to succeed. But within a couple of weeks, old habits begin to creep in. And before you know it, you are eating more junk food and your resolution is simply a faint memory.
Many dieters try diet after diet and lose some weight only to regain it…or more! And many smokers successfully quit smoking only to resume the habit after a short time. When that happens to you, it’s easy to feel like a failure and to feel defeated. But what most people are unaware of is that there is a secret saboteur to blame for these failures.
Making major changes in your life takes much more than just willpower. In fact, willpower alone is too weak to get the job done. That’s because there’s a literal battle of wills that occurs between your conscious and subconscious minds.
The subconscious mind
Your subconscious mind is the place in your brain where you store all of the experiences that you’ve had in your life. Those experiences are what the subconscious knows. And anything that is “known” to the subconscious is considered good. So if you’ve been smoking for a while, the subconscious believes that “smoking is good”. If you use food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, or gambling to calm yourself or handle stress, the subconscious will take them in and equate them as “good”. It doesn’t matter if you know consciously that these patterns of behavior are unhealthy for you.
When you consciously make the decision to change unhealthy behavior, you begin to engage your willpower. This is an effort of the conscious mind. These new behaviors are unknown to the subconscious mind. Because they are unknown, the subconscious will equate them and “bad”. It then goes into protective mode to remove the unknown and return to what it knows. That’s when it sabotages you and you find yourself falling back into the unhealthy patterns that you were trying to correct. A battle will take place between the two areas of your mind. But the subconscious mind is larger and more powerful. And it will win every time.
Now, the subconscious is not evil and out to destroy you. It’s more like a machine. It simply is programmed to return to the familiar. And it will continue to do so until you change the programming.
So, you may think that it’s hopeless and that change is impossible. But there are ways to reprogram the unhealthy habits from your subconscious so you can avoid sabotage.
First, let’s discuss brainwave states and why they are a necessary part of retraining the subconscious mind. The brain has five brainwave states; beta, alpha, theta, delta, and gamma. Only two of those states work well to retrain the brain; alpha and theta. Children up to the age of about 7-8 years old are in one of these two states all the time. This is why children learn so much more quickly than most adults do. They are simply much more suggestible than adults are. Most adults spend most of their waking hours in a beta state which is alert, awake, and aware. While this state is common during waking hours, it isn’t the best state for either learning or reprogramming the subconscious.
The alpha brainwave state is a relaxed state. Many people experience this while daydreaming or even while doing easy, light meditation. The theta state is even more deeply relaxed. You can experience this just as you are falling asleep at night or while in deep meditation. Being in alpha opens the door to the subconscious mind and theta allows you to do the reprogramming.
So how do you get into these states?
One great way is through hypnosis. Hypnosis puts you in a theta brainwave state. This relaxed state gets the conscious mind out of the way so that the subconscious mind can be accessed and retrained. Once in that state, you are given positive messages which replace the faulty messages that have prevented you from making important life changes.
Meditation is a powerful way to change subconscious patterns. When you meditate it brings you into a state of relaxation. Light meditation will bring you to an alpha brainwave state and deeper meditation will bring you to a theta state so that you can do some deeper work. Using a guided meditation recording can help you to reprogram bad habits if you are unfamiliar with meditation practices.
Affirmations can work. But just reciting affirmations to yourself while wide awake will not work. When fully awake, the conscious mind is alert in a beta state. Because of this, you will not have access to the subconscious mind. You must be in an alpha or theta state for that. So to effectively use spoken affirmations, it’s best to record them and play them as you’re falling asleep at night when you’ve just woken up in the morning or while meditating.
These are the best and most effective ways to combat and retrain your secret saboteur. It is important to make sure your mind is in the right state so that you can begin to reprogram effectively. With regular practice, you can begin to see some changes within a few days to a few weeks!